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On The Upper Room Discourse Re-Release For Lent 2024

REAL HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

It has been said that we can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope. Are you running low on hope today? Where do you look when you are needing hope for the future?

Many people find great hope in today’s scripture from a book of the Bible with the curious name of Lamentations. That’s right, a whole volume of God’s word that is the pouring forth of tears. It is written by the prophet Jeremiah, whose many tears garnered him the title “the weeping prophet”, as he witnessed the downfall and ultimate destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B. C. If there ever was a broken person in need of hope it was weeping Jeremiah!                     

But what does Jeremiah do? He gathers himself to remember, to call to mind, that which he knows always gives hope: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…”.                          

The Lord’s “steadfast love” translates the rich Hebrew word hesed, meaning “covenant faithfulness and loyalty.” God has sworn faithfulness to his covenant with His people, and will always be faithful and steadfast in His covenant love for them. “When applied to God, hesed speaks of a divine commitment and loving concern which remains unchanging in the face of all human frailty and fickleness.” (Robert Davidson, The Vitality of Worship: A Commentary on the Book of Psalms) Jeremiah calls to mind God’s hesed-faithfulness and that His “mercies never come to an end.” As Jeremiah calls to mind God’s steadfast love and mercies, he finds that they are “new every morning.” God’s faithful love and mercies are fresh every morning!

Thomas Obediah Chisholm was born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1866; he described himself as “just an old shoe.” He attended a small country school and became the school’s teacher at just 16 years of age. He became a Christian at age 27 and, with no college or seminary, became a Methodist minister. But after a brief pastorate he had to retire because of poor health, making ends meet as best he could. In a letter dated 1941, Chisholm wrote:

“My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now. Although I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

Chisolm was always interested in poetry, writing over 1,200 poems, of which 800 were published, and some set to music. Over his 93 years he experienced God’s faithfulness leading him to write a poem. Perhaps you know it! He based it on the words of the ‘weeping prophet’ in today’s scripture, and titled the poem, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” He passed on the poem to his friend William Runyan, who set the near immortal words to music. The first stanza and chorus testify:

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

Perhaps you are running low on hope today. Perhaps you are discouraged by what is going on in our country, or in your family or personal life. Here is real hope! “Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

A fellow traveler,
Tim

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